Summer 1995 (3.2)
Azerbaijani Youth Invited to
the Aberdeen International Youth Festival
by Susan Glendenning
The Aberdeen International Youth Festival, now in its 23rd year, is a musical extravaganza which includes orchestras, choirs, jazz bands, drama and dance groups. This year's Festival, August 2-12, includes performances from talented youth from 15 different countries and for the second time in Festival's history, Azerbaijan will, again, be on stage.
The BP and Statoil Alliance, in close cooperation with Azerbaijan's Ministry of Culture, is once again sponsoring a group from Azerbaijan just as they did in 1993 when they took 58 young musicians and folk dancers from Baku, along with 14 escorts, 3 interpreters and 8 members of the press (see AI, September 1993).
Auditions for the Festival were held on April 9th in the Philharmonia in Baku. This year, Nicola Wallis, Aberdeen's Festival Director, and Dave Rixon, Production Manager, flew to Baku for the event. Eight performance schools were invited to take part and, eventually, three groups were selected which include "Farakh", a dance group from the State Philharmonia for Children; five classical Azeri ballet dancers from the Baku Choreographic School; and "Jujularim," a drumming group from the Children's Palace which was established in 1937. This is the second time that these superb world-class drummers will be performing at the Aberdeen Festival (See back cover of AI, Spring 1994).
The three groups will perform their usual routines throughout the two week festival. However, at the International Folk Extravaganza, one of the highlights of the Festival, on Saturday, August 5, the Azerbaijani children will command the entire second half of the program in a combined 45 minute performance of dancers and drummers. A Fire Temple (modeled after the original ancient Fire Temple which still can be visited today in Baku) will be re-created on stage at His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen for the event which is being called, "Land of Sacred Fires".
Rarely do the Festival Organizers, Rixon and Wallis, get a chance to visit the countries of the participating groups. But this time they came because they wanted to organize a complete performance around a national ensemble and they chose Azerbaijan.
"The visit to Baku was a great success," Wallis said. "The groups are already talking about how they are going to work together to create what will, no doubt, be a stunning show. I know that the people in Aberdeen are already looking forward to the return of the children from Azerbaijan. We're confident they won't be disappointed!"
From Azerbaijan International (3.2) Summer 1995.
© Azerbaijan International 1995. All rights reserved.